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Month: September 2012

Mashrou Leila brings down the house in Amman again

Last night’s Mashrou Leila concert in the Roman amphitheater, organized by Art Medium, was absolutely awesome. The event was very well organized, the music was brilliant (as always), and the setting was perfect. Hat tip to Alaa Wardi and Hayajan too, I especially loved the Arabic cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

Here’s Mashrou Leila’s performance of “Em Il Jacket”:

On a different, more serious note, it’s amazing how magical the location was: an amphitheater built by the Romans well over 2,000 years ago. It ins’t just the gorgeousness of the place either, it’s the symbolism.

Mashrou Leila’s contemporary Arab energy in an ancient place was in perfect harmony with the current situation in the region. The music and the act captured the clash of civilizations, the clash of ideologies, and the clash of modern mentalities and ancient mentalities.

The nature of the city and the nature of our lives was laid bare for all to see: here we are hidden in the midst of the real world. Here we are dancing and singing nonchalantly while things burn outside. Here we are, trying, but not really. We sing and lament the realities, wishing they were different.

As Leila says, “Let’s burn down this city and build a more honorable one.”

ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﺤﺮﻕ ﻫﺎﻟﻤﺪﻳﻨﺔ
ﻭﻧﻌﻤﺮ ﻭﺍﺣﺪﺓ ﺃﺷﺮﻑ
ﻗﻮﻡ ﻧﻨﺴﻰ ﻫﺎﻟﺰﻣﺎﻥ
ﻭﻧﺤﻠﻢ ﺯﻣﻦ ﺃﻟﻄﻒ
ﻣﺎ ﺯﺍﻟﻚ ﺑﻼ شي
ﻣﺎ ﻓﻴﻚ ﺗﺨﺴﺮ شي
ﻭﺃﻧﺎ ﻣﻠﻴﺖ ﻣﻦ ﻋﺸﺮﺓ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﻏﻴﺮ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﻛﻴﻒ ﺍﻟﻌﺎﻟﻢ ﻏﻴﺮﻧﻲ
ﻛﺎﻥ ﺑﺪﻱ ﺇﺣﻤﻞ ﺍﻟﺴﻤﺎﺀ ﻭﻫﻸ ﺃﻧﺠﻖ ﺣﺎﻣﻞ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ
ﻗﻮﻝ ﺇﻧﻨﻲ ﻣﻠﻴﺢ

I don’t think there’s a song that captures my mood these days as perfectly.

Or no. Maybe it’s these lines from “Ghadan Yawmon Afdal”: “Now all you have to do is learn to avoid these discussions that will never go anywhere, anyway. They won’t save your family nor change the world. Get up so that you don’t go crazy, it’s better if you just learn to ignore.”

بقى تتعلم تتفادى أحاديث بعمرها بتوديش
لا رح تنقذ أهلك ولا رح بتغير عالم
شنا الناس دايماً بتنتقم وعمرها ما بتحبش
قوم بلاش ما تنفصم أشرفلك بس تطنش

Or maybe it’s as simple as “Elhal Romancy”. Get up. Paste that smile on. Do what you’re expected to do; get married, have a few kids, invite your family to kharoof il Eid every now and then. Things have been going just fine.

ﻣﺶ ﻋﺎﺭﻑ ﺇﻥ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺭﺟﻞ ﺃﻡ ﻣﺼﺮﻑ ﺁﻟﻲ
ﺑﺲ ﺍﻷﺟﺎﺭ ﻳﺎ ﺧﻴﻲ ﺻﺎﻳﺮ ﺳﻮﺑﺮ ﻏﺎﻟﻲ
ﺗﺰﻭﺟﻨﻲ ﻭﺁﻗﺮﺃ ﺃﻧﺠﻠﺰ في ﺳﺮﻳﺮﻱ
ﺇﺫﺑﺢ الخروف ﻗﺴﻢ ﻭﺯﻉ عالجيري
الحل ﺭﻭﻣﺎﻧﺴﻲ ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺣﺒﻚ ﻛﺴﺮﺓ ﺍﻟﻘﻄﺎﻉ الخاص ﺑﺲ ﻣﺶ ﻏﻠﻂ
ﺯﻓﻮﺍ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﻭﺱ ﺯﻓﻮﻫﺎ

I’ve been listening to Mashrou Leila for years, but I think I finally grasped the desperateness of their music. “ﻻ ﺗﻌﻤﻠﻲ ﺟﻮﻧﻐﺎﺭ”, they say (Don’t attempt to be a superhero),”ﻣﺎﺷﻲ ﻭﺍﻟﺰﻓﺖ ﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﺑﻮﺟﻬﻲ” (I’m walking and the shit is hitting me straight in the face).


On a side note, how perfectly appropriate is my new t-shirt from Jo Bedu?

A Love Ode to Mashrou Leila
An Interview with Mashrou Leila
After the First Mashrou Leila
Mashrou Leila: Revolution Generation
More Reasons to Love Mashrou Leila

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Ta7t il Ard by the amazing El-Morabba3.

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